The Chinese authorities ordered the inhabitants of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region in Northwest China to hand over their passports to the local police station, reports Chinese newspaper the Global Times, citing informed sources in the local police.
According to the interlocutor of the edition, those who need a passport will have to contact the police station. Source The Global Times also said that this practice is “control” passports will be extended to the entire area.
The Chinese authorities explain the introduction of such measures by the need to “maintain public order”. Officials promise that the practice will not affect the lives of ordinary people, but it will prevent the departure abroad of those who are involved in criminal cases or had previously come under suspicion.
Earlier, on October 19, the public security Department in the city of Shihezi is located in the same area, issued a Directive for the surrender of passports on his page on Chinese social network Weibo, explaining the measure as “annual inspection” of documents. “Those who refuse to surrender their passports, will be responsible independently in the event of the prohibition on leaving the country”, — quotes the message of The Global Times, and notes that later this entry was removed.
As pointed out by The Global Times, a number of state officials were obliged to hand over their passports be deposited with the authorities a few years ago, however, in 2015, Xinjiang authorities loosened control over the passports of residents in order to simplify record keeping. These changes also stipulated that the citizens of Xinjiang, who received a passport for touristic purposes could store them at home, and to hand over documents to the police only had those who planned trips abroad for family reasons or for business purposes.
The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, a significant portion of the population is Muslim Uighurs, many of whom have close family and cultural ties with Turkey, is considered a troubled region of China, says the Financial Times. In recent years on its territory and in other regions of China have become more frequent the attacks, organized by Beijing considers extremist organization “Islamic movement of East Turkestan”.
The publication notes that in recent years, Chinese authorities have introduced a number of restrictions regulating the appearance and daily life of Chinese Muslims, such as the ban on the wearing of beards and the burqa and a ban on participation in religious holidays for government officials.